We do not live in a static world. The web, with its ability to deliver text, audio, video and other media, offers a unique platform for conveying information in an interactive way that appeals to our restless nature. Adding multimedia to your blog or website can have a significant impact on your reader’s experience while, at the same time, improving search engine optimization (SEO) and overall exposure (Smith, 2013)
As I mentioned in my last post, reading content on the web is physiologically different than reading print on paper (Writing for the Web, n.d.). Reading large long winded material on the web may seem extra arduous (Writing for the Web, n.d.). Aside from minimizing the length of your posts, breaking up text content with multimedia elements may help hold readers interest (Smith, 2013). Pictures and video adds visual interest to your narrative while audio offers a rest from reading (Smith, 2013).
The website Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek offers a compelling example of combining multimedia elements – video, text, still photos and audio recordings – into a coherent narrative (Branch, n.d.). The visual elements and informative widgets provide context and add to the viewer’s understanding of the size and nature of the catastrophe (Branch, n.d.). The photos, video and audio recordings also add a very human element to a story that may have been less emotionally moving if presented via text alone. Plus, the author, John Branch, presents a huge amount of text which, while masterfully written, begs to be broken up with multimedia elements.
In addition to strengthening your content, multimedia improves your SEO and exposure (Smith, 2013). Google (and other search engines) favor sites with multimedia over sites with text alone meaning multimedia elements will improve your ranking (or SEO) in user search results (Smith, 2013). In addition, pictures, videos and audio are easily shared through social media providing link-backs to your site (Smith, 2013). Pictures incorporated in your website will also appear on Google images, adding another source for link-backs (Smith, 2013). For example, if you search for “avalanche” in Google Images, your search results will include a picture from Snow Fall: Avalanche at Tunnel Creek with an option to link to the site:
Likewise, a YouTube search results in video from the site:
(The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek: Disaster on the Mountain, n.d.)
What multimedia tools are most effective? Experts indicate that it doesn’t matter what multimedia tools you use as long as you try to incorporate a few (Smith, 2013; Sundar, 2000). A mixture of text with both visual and audio elements will create an appealing sensory experience attractive to the modern audience.
The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek: Disaster on the Mountain. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjzT15-oQq0
Branch, J. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=word-spreads
Smith, M. (2013, March 28). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-your-site
Sundar, S. (2000). Multimedia Effects on Processing and Perception of Online News: A Study of Picture, Audio, and Video Downloads. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 77(3), 480-499. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf
Writing for the Web. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, fromhttp://www.uakron.edu/webteam/docs/dm_webwriting.pdf